'Mrs Graham's Balloon on Fire', c 1850.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving from 'The Illustrated London News' showing spectators running from the burning wreck of Mrs Graham's balloon. English aeronaut George Graham and his wife, Margaret, made numerous balloon ascents in Britain between the 1820s and the 1850s. Many of these ended in disaster, and the Grahams became as famous for their good fortune in surviving their adventures as for their aeronautical skills. By the 1840s ascents by George Graham had become rare, but Margaret continued with her aeronautical career, proclaiming herself 'The Only English Female aeronaut'. Despite many near fatal ballooning accidents, she survived to die in her bed.